Culture/History

Cherry blossom (“Sakura”)

01/13/2020

History of Sakura

In Japan, there is an old saying that if cherry blossoms are in full bloom for a longer period, ancient farmers could expect an abundant harvest. The cherry blossoms, “Sakura” in Japanese, have been respected, especially by farmers since the Nara period (ad 710 – 794). In the Heian period (ad 794 – 1185), the aristocracy started planting Sakura trees in their garden and hold banquet during the bloom period. These days, the word flower came to be synonymous with the cherry blossom in Japan.

Meaning of Sakura

Sakura does not just represent beauty or happiness but is also a symbol of uncertainty of life and sadness as the cherry blossom season is relatively short. In Noh farce, cherry blossoms are considered as the trees in which lives and spirits exist. In the Sengoku period (1467 – 1615), a warrior used to wear the chest protector (“Yoroi”) and a helmet (“Kabuto”) with Sakura pattern, as the warrior was expected to be graceful like cherry blossoms that are falling from the trees after the short (i.e. normally less than a week) blooming peak is over.

Japanese people love Sakura for its beauty and quick passing, which has often been associated with mortality.

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